How Do We Reconcile Rom.1:21 and 1Cor.1:21?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by TCGreek, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    1. In Romans 1:21 Paul says that the pagans knew God but did not honor him as God. It's safe to say that they came to this knowledge of God through nature and conscience.

    2. But then Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:21 that the world through its wisdom did not know God.

    3. Both passages use the same Greek word for the verb "to know." So what is the difference?
     
  2. Steven2006

    Steven2006
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    In my opinion the passages are talking about two different things. The verse in Romans is summing up the previous two verses 19 & 20. It is talking about how mankind is conscious of God. The verse in 1 Cor, is talking about how man cannot know God through wisdom of the world. I think that is why it seems so often scientist have trouble believing in God. If man tries to come to God by his own wisdom it is not going to work, it is the plain simple truth of the Gospel, and believing. See verse 18 "'for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" How true that is, I have heard a lot of people laugh and scoff at the Gospel, claiming it is for the "ignorant".
     
  3. Brother Bob

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    Well, I had a lot of information that knew and know are indeed the same in Greek, but I completely lost it and don't feel like going after it again.

    My feeling is that Knew and Know are in the same boat as "am" and has different deffinitions.
     
  4. Charles Meadows

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    My feeling is that Knew and Know are in the same boat as "am" and has different deffinitions.

    I agree Bro Bob. The Greek doesn't add much here. "Know" is obligately a kind of word that gets used in a great number of different ways.

    Man knows right from wrong because God made him that way. There is not however any virtue in man's "wisdom" that he might apprehend anything spiritual thereby.
     
  5. TCGreek

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    1. But you have not even answered the question: How do we reconcile these two passages?

    2. I know that ginosko has it nuances and that only context can control which one is in view. But is there a difference in its use in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 1?
     
  6. Charles Meadows

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    How do we reconcile the two?

    Why do we need to do so? It seems obvious to me that they are saying completely different things. I would ask how you are linking them.
     
  7. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    So what are the "different things" that they are saying?
     
  8. npetreley

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    The latter passage is addressing specifically the comparison between the foolishness of saving belief vs. man's prideful wisdom. Man will not, by his own wisdom, know God.
     
  9. canadyjd

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    Romans 1:21 "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing to be wise, they became fools"

    What they "knew" about God is stated in v.19; because of the creation and because God made it evident "within them"; but they rejected God in favor of their own wisdom;

    v.19+ is a statement of why all are guilty before God.

    The end result is they have rejected the knowledge of God in favor of their own wisdom.

    Remember, Paul has already said in Romans 1:16 that the gospel is the power of salvation to everyone who believes, both Jew and Gentile.

    Compare to:

    I Cor.1:21 "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe."

    The end result of both verses is that men rejected God in favor of their own wisdom.

    To "know God" in the I Cor.1 passage is to know God through Jesus and His cross. That is foolishness to Gentiles (who consider themselves wise) and a stumbling block to Jews (because "cursed is the man that hangs on a tree")

    That is a special revelation that leads to salvation for those who accept it by faith.

    So, to reconcile the passages:

    Romans 1:21 is referring to a general revelation. What they "knew" about God was a general revelation that was rejected in favor of their own wisdom. They, therefore, did not come to know God in a salvific way. That is why they are guilty before God and why they need the gospel (1v.16 & 19).

    I Cor.1:21 doesn't mention the general revelation, but goes straight to the heart of the matter by saying men did not come to "know" God through their own wisdom. "Did not come to know God" is referring to a salvific knowledge, and may be (I believe it is) directly referring to the rejection of Jesus and His cross as the means of salvation.

    The same end in both verses is that men rejected the revelation of God (general in Romans, special in I Cor.) in favor of their own wisdom.

    peace to you:praying:
     
    #9 canadyjd, Aug 4, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2007
  10. Brother Bob

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    You mean the dead in sin "knew" God Canadyjd?...........:)

    peace to you
     
  11. swaimj

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    TDGreek,

    Excellent question at the start of this thread. Here's my take.

    The knowing in Romans 1 is knowledge by revelation. Vs. 19 says "What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them." They know about God because God has revealed Himself to them in nature, by the conscience, and by their own sense of right and wrong (flawed though this may be). The problem is that men have rejected what God has revealed and they have gone into the worship of the creation rather than the creator. Having done this, they can never again, through their own wisdom come to a knowledge of the true God. This is where I Corinthians 1:21 comes into play. Man, having forsaken God's original revelation of himself cannot come to know God by his own efforts or by his own wisdom. He must now come to know God through God's revelation of himself in his son, Jesus Christ. If a man rejects this revelation, he is forever lost.
     
  12. canadyjd

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    They "knew" God from general revelation, that is they knew that He existed and His divine attributes were revealed in the creation. That knowledge is not salvific, however, because it is rejected by all men in favor of their own wisdom.

    That is why there is none righteous, not even one, there is none that seeks after God, not even one.

    That is also why a special revelation is needed, and why Holy Spirit regenerates the spiritually dead persons of His choice (John 3) so that they may see the truth of their condition before God and their need for a Savior through the gospel that is preached/proclaimed.

    A person who receives such Divine, Salvific Grace (unmerited favor) will, without fail, repent of their sins and embrace Jesus as Savior and Lord and shall never fall from such Grace because he is held in the hands of his Master and has Holy Spirit indwelling.

    Did I convince you?:godisgood:

    peace to you:praying:
     
  13. Brother Bob

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    I am puzzled, how can they reject Him, if they don't know what they are rejecting? :)

    Nope...............
     
    #13 Brother Bob, Aug 5, 2007
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  14. skypair

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    Hey big, bearded guy! :wavey:

    I think the first instance demonstrates God's "communication with us. "Creation" tells us things that are eternal about the godhead like that mentioned in Ecc 3:11 does "He hath put the world in their hearts."

    It is obvious regarding the second instance that men's wisdom is mingled with misinformation.

    It's a "Source"/source issue that is the difference, TC. It'd be like me saying I learned this from Calvin vs I learned this from the Bible.

    skypair
     
    #14 skypair, Aug 5, 2007
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  15. canadyjd

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    They knew from general revelation that God exists because God put that knowledge within them. That is what they rejected in favor of their own wisdom, according to scripture.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  16. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    I know you are Anti-Calvinism. But why do you make everything Scripture about Calvinism?
     
  17. charles_creech78

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    Rome 1:21 Because that they knew God they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Ro 1:22 Professing themselves to be WISE, they became fools, RO 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beast, and creeping things. Ro 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleaness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Ro 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator, who is blessed for ever. amen. Co 1:21 For after that in wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by foolishness of preaching to save then that believe. 1co 1:22 For the JEWS REQUIRE A SIGN, and the GREEKS SEEK AFTER WISDOM: 1 Co 1:23 But we PREACH CHRIST crucified, unto the Jews a STUMBLINGBLOCK, and unto the GREEKS FOOLISHNESS; 1 Co 1:24 but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 1 Co Because the foolishness of God is WISER than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethen, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the WISE; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
     

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